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Durham University Council votes to leave newest college unnamed in case of ‘a substantial donor’

Only one member voted against

Durham University Council, the highest governing body of the University, decided at its meeting yesterday, Tuesday 13 March, to leave the newest Durham college unnamed to attract wealthy donors.

The University Secretary, Jennifer Sewell, announced the decision: "Council considered the proposal to select a permanent and significant name for the 17th College and concluded that in view of the need for a successful fundraising campaign, at this stage the University should not proceed with a formal naming process for the 17th College to leave the option open for a substantial donor to have naming opportunities."

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Durham Students' Union President Megan Croll was the only member of the nineteen-strong council to oppose the decision not to proceed with a formal naming process.

Commenting on the Council's decision, Megan told The Tab: "They are an amazing group of people and they are trying to act in the best interests of the university but I’m not sure they’ve got it right here."

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Megan had previously started a petition to name the next Durham college after a notable Durham woman, going on to attract over 2,800 signatures.

The petition stated: "It is embarrassing that our 16 colleges, named after people who have achieved great things, or are renowned in history, could be followed by colleges simply named after someone who is willing to cough up enough cash."

Yet the University Council's meeting on Tuesday 13 March rejected the proposal, stating: "- In delivering its stewardship responsibilities around the University’s assets, Council has today carefully reconsidered its decision in the light of the protests from some students and staff but has confirmed that its decision remains appropriate.

"The rationale for pausing the formal naming of the 17th College was not well communicated to staff and students, for which Council and UEC apologise. The strength of student feeling about this is recognised.

"To avoid this situation occurring again, Council has asked the Executive to identify within the Estates Strategy, the buildings which will need naming in order that these might be prioritised and potential possibilities for naming rights identified in advance."